Durham, located in North Carolina's Piedmont region-- may be part of the Research Triangle, but some of the area's residents have maintaining beautiful green spaces down to a science. Keep reading as we share some pro tips that Duke's landscape services team use to help you get a lush, green lawn that's (almost) as lush as their meticulously maintained athletic fields.
The Blue Devils have 11 athletic fields. Of those, four of them are artificial. That means that Duke Facilities Management's landscape services team approaches caring for each field differently. In fact, different grasses are used for various sports.
Even so, their goal is always the same as yours is at home: soft, green, healthy grass that looks pretty, offers consistent footing, resists wear, and looks good to boot.
So how can you do the same thing with your lawn at home? Well, just like the pro groundskeepers use different kinds of grass in different situations, you should use the best grass for your location.
What Kind of Grass Best Suits Durham, Raleigh, NC? North Carolina has three major regions. They are the mountains, Piedmont, and the coastal plain area. Because of differences in climate, elevation, and humidity, different kinds of grass flourish in different areas. If you want your lawn to thrive, it pays to use the grass that's best suited for your area.
North Carolina's grasses fall into two major categories: warm-season or cool-season grasses. Warm season grasses are best adapted to temperatures between 80 and 95 degrees. Cool season grasses do best in temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees.
Some common warm season varieties found in North Carolina include Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass, centipede grass, St. Augustine grass, and carpet grass. Typical cool-season grasses include tall Fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, fine Fescue, and perennial ryegrass.
If you live within Durham's 2000 square miles, you're in the Piedmont region. Varieties of Tall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Fine Fescue can prosper in the Piedmont region if properly maintained. Many residents in the Durham area use one of the following grasses for their lawns:
- Tall Fescue
- Kentucky Bluegrass
So how do you make all the neighbors jealous of your lawn? Here are four ways Duke's landscape services team gives the Blue Devils playing fields that make other teams green with envy.
Watering and Drainage
One of the most important things you can do to have a beautiful lawn after selecting the right seed is to encourage proper growth by watering your lawn correctly.
One of the significant differences between the athletic fields at Duke and your house is the Blue Devils use an elaborate drainage system to keep water from pooling. The system stores and recirculates the water, helping to keep nutrients in the soil instead of getting flushed away by the water.
You don't need a fancy drainage system to do this at home. Simply limit your watering, so you don't wash away the nutrients your lawn needs.
The key to watering, according to most professional groundskeepers, is to make sure your water reaches the roots of your grass. One way to make sure that's happening is to use a shovel or trowel and get down on your hands and knees.
Many factors affect how often your lawn needs watering. This includes soil type, how much sunlight your yard gets, what kind of grass you have, and the climate. Durham, North Carolina gets 46 inches of rain, on average, per year (a bit more than the national average of 39 inches) so it's important to keep an eye on your lawn watering.
Too much watering can promote fungus growth and cause a shallow root system. Fewer waterings cause the roots to grow deeper.
Fertilizing and weed control
Fertilizing is probably the next most crucial thing to watering when it comes to caring for your lawn. In most cases, you should fertilize your lawn a few times a year. This is especially important in autumn, once the top growth of your grass ends. The fall is also a great time to apply weed control. Over-fertilizing can harm your lawn.
Mowing correctly is one of the most important things you can do to keep your lawn healthy.
Most professional groundskeepers follow a rule of thumb to never cut more than ⅓ of the blades of grass with a mowing. You can estimate or use a ruler to measure the depth of your lawn.
An exception to the ⅓ rule occurs in the spring and fall and when your lawn is entering or exiting its growing season and after the last freeze has passed and experts suggest you cut your lawn low to promote regrowth. Professional groundskeepers always bag and compost the early clippings.
After that, they advise you mow your lawn as often as needed so the height remains consistent and you don't need to gather clippings.
Bring in the pros so you can enjoy the game.
Perhaps the biggest advantage the professional groundskeepers at Duke have over the average homeowner when it comes to maintaining a lush, green lawn is resources.
The pros have the budget, time, and expertise to take proper care of the grass.
If you want a beautiful lawn but don't have the time to take care of it yourself, let Lawn Love handle your lawn care chores. We're the leading lawn care service in the Raleigh area, and we offer everything from tree trimming to flower care. We even take care of special requests. To get started just enter your zip code and we'll send you a customized quote for services in the Durham, Raleigh, NC area.